tv Presidential Debate ABC October 3, 2012 6:00pm-8:00pm PDT
this is an abc news special. tonight, the race for the white house comes down to this. the biggest moment of the campaign. face to face, for the first time. the president. >> we'll finish what we started. >> the challenger. >> i will fight and i will lead. >> it's your voice, your vote. one-on-one, the candidates debate. now reporting from abc news election headquarters in new york, diane sawyer and george stephanopoulos. >> and good evening. this is it, the biggest night in the ration for the white house 2012. and we are so glad you are joining us, as the presidential gladiators get ready to walk into a big arena. there's the stage. president barack obama, governor mitt romney are standing by in the wings right now and jofgeor it is hard to imagine the
pressure on them. as many of 60 million of us could be watching tonight. >> first of three debates. and the first debates almost always help the challenger. mitt romney needs it. it's a tight race, he's behind. >> and tonight, to cover it all, our team, inside the debate hall. and keeping watch in our fact check desk, and also, with us right here in the studio, the insiders from both parties, ready to weigh in on who woman and the big moments we'll remember tomorrow. >> the moderator tonight, jim lehrer from pbs. he's moderated 12 debates, more than anybody else. here he is right now. >> good evening, from the magnus arena at the university of denver in denver, colorado. i'm jim lehrer of the pbs news hour and i welcome you to the first of the 2012 presidential debates, between president barack obama, the democratic nominee, and former massachusetts governor mitt
romney, the republican nominee. this debate, and the next three, two presidential, one vice presidential, are sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. tonight's 90 minutes will be about domestic issues. and will follow a format designed by the commission. there will be six roughly 15-minute segments, with two-minute answers for the first question, then open discussion for the remainder of each segment. thousands of people offered suggestions on questions, via the internet and other means, but i made the final selections and, for the record, they were not submitted for approval to the commission or the candidates. the segments, as i announced, in advanc advanced, will be three on the economy and one each on health care, the role of government and governing, with an emphasis throughout on differences,
specifics and choices. both candidates will also have two-minute closing statements. the audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent. no cheers, applause, boos, among other noisy distracting things. so, we may all concentrate on what the candidates have to say. there is a noise exception right now, though, as we welcome president obama and governor romney. >> gentlemen, welcome to you
both. let's start with the economy, segment one, and let's begin with jobs. what are the major differences between the two of you about how you would go about creating new jobs? you have two minutes, each of you have two minutes to start. a coin toss has determined mr. president, you go first. >> well, thank you very much, jim, for this opportunity, i want to thank governor romney and the university of den very for your hospitality. there are a lot of points i want to make tonight, but the most important one is that 20 years ago, i became the luckiest man on earth, because michelle obama agreed to marry me, and, so, i just want to wish, sweetie, you happy anniversary and let you know that a year from now, we will not be celebrating it in front of 40 million people. four years ago, we went through the worst financial crisis since the great depression.
millions of jobs were lost, the auto industry was on the brink of collapse. the financial system had frozen up. and because of the resilience and the determination of the american people, we've begun to fight our way back. over the last 30 months, we've seen 5 million jobs in the private sector created. the auto industry has come roaring back. and housing has begun to rise. but we all know that we've still got a lot of work to do. and so, the question here tonight is not where we've been, but where we're going. governor romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skewed towards the wealthy and roll back regulations that we'll be better off. i've got a different view. i think we've got to invest in education and training. i think it's important for us to develop new sources of energy here in america. that we change our tax code to make sure that we're helping small businesses and companies that are investing here in the united states.
that we take some of the money that we're saving as we wind down two wars, to rebuild america. and that we reduce our deficit in a balanced way that allows us to make these critical investments. now, ultimately it's going to be up to the voters, to you, which path we should take. are we going to double down on the top down economic policies that helped to get us into this mess, do we embrace a new economic patriotism that says, america does best when the middle class does best? and i'm looking forward to having that debate. >> governor romney? two minutes. >> thank you, jim. honor to be here with you and i appreciate the chance to be the president. pleased to be at the university of denver, appreciate their welcome and also the presidential ghicommission. congratulations to you,mr. president, on your anniversary. this is the most romantic thing you would imagine, being here with me. congratulations. this obviously a very tender topic. i've had the occasion over the last couple of years of meeting with people across the country.
i was in dayton, ohio, and a woman grabbed my arm, she said, i've been out of work since may, can you help me? and yesterday, at a rally in denver and a woman came up to me with a baby in her arms, said, ann, my husband has had four jobs in three years, part-time jobs, he's lost his most recent job. and we've now just lost our home. can you help us? and the answer is yes. we can help. but it's going to take a different path. not the one we've been on. not the one the president describes as a top down cut taxes for the rich, that's not what i'm going to do. my plan has five basic parts. one, get us energy independent, north american energy independent. that creates 4 million jobs. number two. open up more trade, particularly in latin america. crack down on china, if and when they cheat. number three, make sure our people have the skills they need to succeed. and the best schools in the world, we are far away from that now. number four, get us to a balanced budget.
number five, champion small business. it's small business that creates the jobs in america. and over the last four years, small business people have decided that america may not be the place to open a new business, because new business startups are down to a 30-year low. i know what it takes to get small business growing again. to hire people. now, i'm concerned that the path that we're on has just been unsuccessful. the president has a view very similar to the view he had four years ago, that a bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more, if you will, trickle down government, would work. that's not the right answer for america. i'll restore the vitality that gets america working again. thank you. >> mr. president, please respond directly to what the governor just said about trickle down. his trickle down approach as he said yours is. >> well, let me talk specifically about what i think we need to do. first, we've got time prove our education system. and we've made enormous progress
drawing on ideas both from democrats and republicans. that are already starting to show gains in some of the toughest to deal with schools. we've got a program called race to the top that has prompted reforms in 46 states around the country, raising standards, improving how we train teachers, so, now, i want to hire another 100,000 new math and science teachers and create 2 million more slots in our community colleges so that people can get trained for the jobs that are out there right now. and i want to make sure that we keep tuition low for our young people. when it comes to our tax code, governor romney and i both agree that the corporate tax rate is too high. so, i want to lower it, particularly for manufacturing, taking it down to 25%. but i also want to close those loopholes that are giving incentives for companies that are shipping jobs overseas, i want to provide tax breaks for companies investing in the united states.
on energy, governor romney and i agree we've got to boost american energy production. and oil and natural gas production are higher than they've been in years. but i also believe that we've got to look at the energy source of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels and make those investments. so, all of this is possible, now, in order for us to do it, we do have the close our deficit and i'm sure we'll be discussing tonight how do we deal with our tax code and how do we make sure that we are reducing spending in a responsible way, but also how do we have enough revenue to make those investments? and that's where there's a difference, because governor romney's plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of the extension of the bush tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn't asked for. how we pay for that, reduce the deficit and make the investments that we need to make without dumping those costs onto middle
class americans, i think, is one of the central questions of this campaign. >> both of you have spoken about a lot of different things. we're going to try to get through them in as specific a way as we can. but first, governor romney, do you have a question you'd like to ask the president directly about something he just said? >> well, sure, i'd like to clear up the record and go through piece by piece. i don't have a $5 trillion tax cut. i don't have a tax cut of a scale you're talking about. my view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. but i'm not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high next people. high income people are doing just fine in this economy. they'll do fine if you're president or i am. the people having a hard time now are middle income americans. middle income americans have been buried under the president's policies. they are being crushed. middle income americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. this is a tax in and of itself. it's the economy tax. it's been crushing.
gasoline prices have doubled under the president. electric rates are up. food prices are up. health care costs have gone up by $2,500 a family. middle income families are being crushed. it's energy and trade, the right kind of training programs, balancing our budget and helping small business. those are the cornerstones of my plan. the president mentioned a couple of other ideas. first education, i agree, education is key, particularly the future of our economy. but our training programs right now, we got 47 of them, housed in the federal government. reporting to eight different agencies, overhead is overwhelming. we have to get those dollars back to the states and go to the workers so they can create their own pathways to getting the training they need for jobs that will really help them. the second area, we agree, we ought to bring the tax rates down. and i do. for corporations and individuals. bull for us to not lose revenue, i also lower deductions and
credits and exceptions so that we take in the same money when you account for growth. the third area. energy. energy is critical and the president pointed out correctly that production of oil and gas in the u.s. is up. but not due to his policies. inspite of his policies. mr. president, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land. not on government land. on government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half. if i'm president, i'll double them. and also get the oil from offshore and alaska and bring that pipeline in from canada. by the way, i like coal. i'm going to make sure we continue to burn clean coal. people in the coal industry feel like it is getting crushed by your policies. i want to get america and north america energy independent to create those jobs. finally, in regards to that tax cut -- look, i'm not looking to cut massive taxes and to reduce the revenues going to the government.
number one principle is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. but i do want to reduce the burden being paid by middle income americans. and to do that, that also means i cannot reduce the burden paid by high income americans, so, any language to the contrary is simply not accurate. >> mr. president? >> well, let's talk about taxes, because i think it's instructive. now, four years ago when i stood on this stage, i said that i would cut taxes for middle class families. and that's exactly what i did. we cut taxes for middle class families by about $3,600. and the reason is, because i believe that we do best when the middle class is doing well. and by giving them those tax cuts, they had a little more money in their pocket and so maybe they can buy a new car. they are certainly in a better position to weather the
extraordinary recession that we went through. they can buy a computer for their kid who is going off to college. which means they are spending more money, businesses have more customers, businesses make more profits and then hire more workers. now, governor romney's proposal calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of $2 trillion of additional spending for our military. and he is saying that he is going to pay for it by closing loopholes in deductions. the problem is that he's been asked over 100 times how you would close those deductions and loopholes and he hasn't been able to identify them. i'm going to make an important point here, jim. when you add up all the loopholes and deductions that upper income individuals can, are currently taking advantage of, you take those away, you don't come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending. that's why studies looking at this said the only way to meet
governor romney's pledge of not reducing the deficit, or not adding to the deficit is by burdening middle class families, the average middle class family with children would pay $2,000 more. now, that's not my analysis, that's economists who have looked at this. and that kind of top-down economics where folks at the top are doing well so the average person making $3 million is getting a $250,000 tax break while middle class families are burdened further, that's not what i believe is a recipe for economic growth. >> what is the difference -- stay on taxes -- just stay on taxes for a moment here. >> virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate, so, if the tax plan he described were a tax plan i was asked to support, i would say absolutely not. i'm not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. what i've said is, i won't put in a tax cut that adds to the deficit. that's part one.
so, there's no economist can say, mitt romney's tax plan amends $5 trillion. if i say i will not add to the deficit with my tax plan. number two, i will not reduce the share paid my high income individuals. i know you and your running mate keep saying that and it's a popular thing to say, but it's just not the case. look, i got five boys. i'm used to people saying something that's not always true but just keep on repeating it and hoping i'll believe it, but that is not the case, all right? i will not reduce the taxes paid by high income americans. and number three, i will not under any circumstances raise taxes on middle income families. i will lower taxes on middle income families. now, you cite a study. there are six other stud dims that say that study is wrong. i saw a study today that said you're going raise taxes by $3,000 to $4,000. there are all these studies out there. let's get at the bottom line. that is, i want to bring down rates. i want to bring the rates down,
at the same time, lower exceptions and credits and so forth so we keep getting the revenue we need. and you think, well, why lower the rates? and the reason is, because small business pains that individual rate. 54% of america's workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate. and if we lower that rate, they will be able to hire more people. for me, this is about jobs. this is about getting jobs for the american people. >> that's where we started. you challenge what the governor just said about his own plan? >> well, for 18 months he's been running on this tax plan and now, five weeks before the election, he's saying that his big, bold idea is, never mind. and the fact is that if you are lowering the rates, the way you describe, governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high income individuals to avoid either
raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. it's math. now, governor romney and i do share a deep interest in encouraging small business growth. at the same time that my tax plan has already lowered taxes for 98% of families, i also lowered taxes for small bi businesses 18 times. what i want to do is continue the tax rates, the tax cuts that we put into place for small businesses and families. but i have said that for incomes over $250,000 a year, that we should go back to the rates that we had when bill clinton was president, when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus and created a whole lot of millionaires to boot. and the reason this is important is because by doing that, we cannot only reduce the deficit, we cannot only encourage job growth through small businesses,
but we're able to make the investments that are necessary in education, or in energy. and we do have a difference, though, when it comes to definitions of small business. under my plan, 97% of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up. governor romney says, well, the top 3%, they're the job creators, they'd be burdened. but under governor romney's definition, there are millionaires and billionaires who are small business. donald trump is a small business. i know donald trump doesn't like to think himself as small anything, but but that's how you define small businesses, if you are getting business income. and that kind of approach, i believe, will not grow our economy, because the only way to pay for it without either burdening the middle class or blowing up our deficit is to make drastic cuts in things like education, making sure that we are continuing to invest in
basic science and research. all the things that are helping america grow. i think that would be a mistake. >> all right -- >> jim, let me come back on that point -- >> just for the record -- excuse me, just so everybody understands, we are way over our first 15 minutes. >> it's fun. >> it's okay. no problem. you don't have to -- i don't have a problem, because we are still on the economy. we're going to come back to taxes, and we're going to move onto the deficit and a lot of other things, too. be go ahead, sir. >> you bet. >> mr. president, you are absolutely right, which is regards to 97% of the businesses are not taxed at 35%, they are taxed lower. but those businesses that are in the last 3% of businesses happen to employ half -- half of all the people who work in small business. those are the businesses that employ one-quarter of all the workers in america. and your plan is to take that are tax rate from 35% to 40%. i talked to a guy who has a very small business. he's in the electronics business
in st. louis. he has four employees. he said he and his son calculated how much they pay in taxes. federal income tax, payroll, state taxes, gasoline tax, it added up to well over 50% of what they earned. and your plan is to take the tax rate on successful small businesses from 35% to 40%. the national federation of independent businesses have said that will cost 700,000 jobs. i don't want to cost jobs. my pril yourty is jobs. what i do is bring down the tax rates, lower deductions and exceptions. the same idea. get the rates down, lower deductions and exceptions, to create more jobs. there's nothing better to getting us to a more balanced budget than getting people working, paying more taxes. that's the most efficient way to get this budget balanced. >> jim, i -- you may want to
move onto another topic, but i would just say this to the american people. if you believe that we can cut taxes by $5 trillion and add $2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for, $7 trillion, just to give you a sense, over ten years, that's more than our xir defense budget, and you think that by closing loopholes and deductions for the well to do, somehow will you not end up picking up the tab, then governor romney's plan may work for you. but i think math, common sense and our history shows us that's not a recipe for job growth. look, we've tried this. we've tried both approaches. the approach that governor romney is talking about is the same that was made in 2001 and 2003. and we ended up with the slowest job growth in 50 years. we ended up moving from surplus
to deficits. and it all cull min nated in the worst financial crisis since the great depression. bill clean on the tried to approach that i'm talking about. we created 23 million new jobs. we went from deficit to surplus. and businesses did very well. so, in some ways, we've got some data on which approach is more likely to create jobs and opportunity for americans and i believe that the economy works best when middle class families are getting tax breaks so that they've got some money in their pockets and those of us who have done extraordinarily well because of this magnificent country that we live in, that we can afford to do a little bit more and make sure we're not blowing up the deficit. >> the president began this segment, so, i think i get the last word -- >> well, you're going to get the first word in the next segment. >> he gets the first word of that segment. i hope -- let me just make this comment. let me repeat what i said. i'm not in favor of a $5
trillion tax cut. that's not my plan. my plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit. that's point one. so, you may keep referring to it at a $5 trillion tax cut, but that's not my plan. number two, let's look at history. my plan is not like anything that's been tried before. my plan is to bring down rates but also bring down deductions and credits at the same time so the revenue stays in. but that we bring down rates to get more people working. my priority is putting people back to work in america. they're suffering in this country. and we talk about evidence. look at the evidence of the last four years. it's absolutely extraordinary. we've got 23 million people out of work. or stopped looking for work in this country. >> all right. >> we've got -- when the president took office, 32 million people on food stamps, 47 million on food stamps today. economic growth this year, slower than last year and last year slower than the year before? going forward with the status
quo is not going to cut it. >> all right, let's talk -- still on the economy. this is theoretically, now, a second segment, still on the economy and specifically on what to do about the federal deficit. the federal debt. and the question, you each have two minutes on this, and governor romney, you go first, because president went first on segment one. and the question is this. what are the differences between the two of you as to how you would go about tackling the deficit problem in this country? >> i'm glad you raised that. it's a critical issue. i think it's not just an economic issue. i think it's a moral issue. i think it's frankly not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed to the next generation and they're going to be paying for it all their lives and the amount of debt we're adding at a trillion a year is not moral. how do we deal with it?
there are three ways you can cut a deficit. one, of course, is to raise taxes. number two is the cut spending and number three is to grow the economy. because if more people work in a growing economy, they are paying taxes and you can get the job done that way. the president would refer raising taxes, i understand. the problem with raising taxes is that it slows down the rate of growth and you can never quite get the job done. i want to lower spending and encourage economic growth at the same time. what things would i cut from spending? well, first of all, i will eliminate all programs by this test if they don't pass it. is the program so critical, it's worth borrowing money from china to pay for it? obama-care is on my list. i use that term with all respect -- >> i like it. >> okay, good. so i'll get rid of that. i'm sorry, jim. i'm going to stop the subsidy to pbs. i'm going to stop -- i like pbs. i like big bird, i actually like you, too. i'm not going to spend money on things to borrow money china to
pay for. number two, take programs that are good, but would be run more efficiently at state level. i cut back the number of employees in government, combine agencies in departmeand departm. this would be down by attrition. this is what we have to do. the president said he would cult the deficit in half. unfortunately, he doubled it. trillion dollar deficits for the last four years. the president's put it in place as much public debt, almost as much debt held by the public as all prior presidents combined. >> mr. president? two minutes. >> when i walked into the oval office, i had more than a trillion dollar deficit greeting me. and we know where it came from. two wars that were paid for on a credit card. two tax cuts that were not paid for. and a whole bunch of programs that were not paid for. and then a massive economic crisis.
and despite that, what we've said is, yes, we had to take some initial emergency measures to make sure we didn't slip into a great depression, but what we've also said is, let's make sure that we are cutting out those things that are not helping us grow. so, 77 government programs, everything from aircrafts that the air force had ordered but weren't working very well, 18 government programs for education that were well intentioned, but weren't helping kids learn. we went after medical fraud. in medicare and medicaid. very aggressively. more aggressively than ever before and have saved tens of billions of dollars. i worked with democrats and republicans to cut a trillion dollars out of our discretionary domestic budget. that's the largest cut in the discretionary budget since dwight eisenhower. we know we have to do more. and so i put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction
plan. it's on the website, you can look at the numbers, what cuts we make and what revenue we raise. and the way we do it is $2.50 for every cut, we ask for $1 of additional revenue, paid for, as i indicated earlier, by asking those of us who have done very well in this country, to contribute a little bit more to reduce the deficit. governor romney earlier mentioned the simpson commission. that's how the bipartisan commission that talked about how we should move forward, suggested we should do it. with some revenue and some spending cuts. and this is a major difference that governor romney and i have. let me just finish this point, because you're looking for contrasts. you know, when governor romney stood on a stage with other republican candidates for the nomination, and he was asked, would you take $10 of spending cuts for just $1 of revenue?
and he said no. now, if you take such an unbalanced approach, then that means you are going to be gutting our investments in schools and education. it means that governor romney talked about medicaid and how we could send it back to the states but effectively, that means a 30% cut in the primary program we have for kids with disabilities, seniors in nursing homes. that is not a right strategy. >> way over the two minutes. >> sorry. >> governor, will you support simpson bowls? >> the president should have grabbed that -- >> do you support that? >> i have my own plan. not the same. but in my view, the president should have grabbed it, if he wanted to make adjustments to it, take it, go to congress, fight for you. >> that's what we've done. made adjustments to it and we're putting it to congress right now. >> you've been president four years. you said you'd cut the deficit in half, it's four years later, we still have trillion dollar
deficits. we'll have it each of the next four years. if you are re-elected, we'll get to a trillion dollar debt. you have said before you'd cut the deficit in half. and i love this idea of $4 trillion in cuts. you found $4 trillion ways to get closer to a balanced budget yet we show trillion dollar deficits every year. that doesn't get the job done. let me come back and say, why is it that i don't want to raise taxes, why do i want to raise taxes on people? and actually, you said it, back in 2010, you said, look, i'm going to extend the tax policies that we have. i'm not going to raise taxes on anyone, because xhen twhen we'r recession, you shouldn't raise taxes on anyone. well, the economy is still going slow. as a matter of fact, it's growing much more slowly now than when you made that statement. and so, if you believe the same thing, you just don't want to raise taxes on people, and the reality is, it's not just wealthy people, you mentioned donald trump. it's not just donald trump. it's all the businesses that employ one-quarter of the
workers in america. these small businesses that are taxed as individuals. you raise taxes and you kill jobs. that's why the national federation of independent businesses said your plan will kill 700,000 jobs. i don't want to kill jobs in this environment. make one more point. >> let him answer the taxes thing for a moment. mr. president? >> well, we've had this discussion before. >> about the idea that, in order to reduce the deficit, there has to be revenue in addition to cuts. >> there has to be revenue in addition to cuts. governor romney has ruled out revenue. he's ruled out revenue. >> completely? >> the revenue i get is by more people working, getting higher pay, paying more taxes. that's how we get growth and how we balance the budget. but the idea of taxing people more, putting more people out of work, you'll never get there. you never balance the budget by raising taxes. spain spends 42% of their total economy on government. >> okay.
>> we're not spending 42% of our economy on government. i don't want to go down the path of spain. i want to go down the path of growth that puts americans to growth with more money coming in. >> go ahead, mr. president. you are saying, in order to get the job done it's got to be balanced. >> if we are serious, you have to take a balanced approach. by the way, this is not just individual taxes. let's talk about corporate taxes. now, i've identified areas where we can, right away, make a change that i believe would actually help the economy. the oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. basically. they debt deductions that those small businesses that governor romney refers to, that they don't get. now, does anybody think that exx exxon-mobil needs extra money? why wouldn't we want to
eliminate that? eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets. if you have one, you can probably afford to pay full for it. when it comes to corporate taxes, governor romney said he wants to, in a revenue-neutral way, close loopholes, deductions, he hasn't identified which ones they are, but bring down the corporate rate. i want to do the same thing, but i've identified how we can do that. and part of the way to do it is to not give tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. right now, you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. i think most americans would say, that doesn't make sense and all that raises revenue. and so, if we take a balanced approach, what that then allows us to do is also to help young people the way we already have during my administration, make sure that they can afford to go to college. it means that the teacher that i
met in las vegas, wonderful young lady, who describes to me, she's got 42 kids in her class. first two weeks, she's got them, some of them sitting on the floor until, finally, they get reassigned. they are using text books that are 10 years old. that is not a recipe for growth that's not how america was built. and, so, budgets reflect choices. ultimately, we're going to have to make some decisions. and if we are asking for no revenue, then, that means we've got to get rid of a whole bunch of stuff and the magnitude of the tax cuts that you're talking about, governor, would end up resulting in severe hardship for people but more importantly, would not help us grow. as i indicated before. when you talk about shifting medicaid to states, we're talking about potentially a 30% cut in medicaid over time. now, you know, that may not seem like a big deal when it just is, you know, numbers on a sheet of
paper, but if we're talking about a family whose got an autistic kid, depending on that medicaid, that's a big problem. governors are creative, but not creative enough to make up for 30% of revenue on something like medicaid. some people end up not getting help. >> jim, let's -- we've got a lot of topics there. it's going to take a minute to go to medicaid -- >> come back to medicaid. >> the department of energy said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. and it's actually an accounting treatment that's been in place for 100 years. now -- >> time to end it. >> and in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. now, i like green energy, as well. but that's about 50 years worth of what oil and gas receives and you say exxon and mobil -- $2.8
billion goes to small companies, but you know, if we get that tax rate down to 25%, that $2.8 billion is on the table. of course it's on the table. that's probably not going to survive, you get that rate down to 25%. but don't forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years worth of breaks into solar and wind, toll sew linynn so lynn dra. you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers. this is not -- this is not the kind of policy you want to have, to get america energy secure. the second topic, which is, you said you debt a deduction for taking a plant overseas -- i've been in business for 25 years. i have no idea what you're talking about. i maybe need to get a new accountant. the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case. what we do have right now is a setting where i would like to bring money from overseas back to this country. and finally, medicaid to states? i'm not sure where they came in,
except this -- i would like to take the medicaid dollar to go to states and say to a state, you're going to get what you got last year, plus inflation, plus 1% and then you are going to manage your care for your poor and the way you think best. as a governor, when this idea was floated by tommy thompson, the governors, republican and democrats said, please let us do that. we can care for our own poor in so much better and more effective a way than having the federal government tell us how to care for our poor. so, let's -- one of the magnificent things about this country is the whole idea that states are the laboratories of democracy. don't have the federal government tell everybody what kind of training programs they have to have and what kind of medicaid they have to have. left states do this. and, by the way, if a state gets in trouble, we can step in, see if we can help them. but the right approach is one which relies on the brilliance of our people and states, not the federal government. >> we're going, still on the economy, on another part of it,
all right? all right, this is segment three, the economy. entitlements. first answer goes to you, two minutes, mr. president, do you see a major difference between the two of you on social security? >> you know, i suspect that on social security, we've got somewhat similar position. social security is structurally sound. it's going to have to be tweaked, the way it was by ronald reagan and speaker, democratic speaker tip o'neil. the basic structure is sound. but i want to talk about the values behind social security and medicare and then talk about medicare, buecause that's the bg driver of our deficits right now. my grandmother, some of you know, helped to raise me. my grandparents did. my grandfather died awhile back. my grandmother died three days before i was elected president. and she was fiercely indeben dent. she worked her way up, only had
a high school education, started as a secretary, ended up being the vice president of a local. she lived alone, by choice, and the reason she could be independent was because of social security and medicare. she had worked all her life, put in this money and understood there was a floor under which she could not go. that's the perspective i bring when i think about what's called entitlements. theplies some sense of dependency. these folks have worked hard, who are counting on this. my approach is, how do we strengthen the system? and in medicare, what we did was, we said, we are going to have to bring down the costs, if we're going to deal with our long-term deficits, but to do that, let's look where some of the money is going. $716 billion, we were able to save, from the medicare program, by no longer overpaying
insurance companies, by making sure that we weren't overpaying providers. and using that money, we're actually able to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by an average of $600 and we were also able to make a significant dent in providing them the kind of preventive care that will ultimately save money throughout the system. so, the way for us to deal with medicare, in particular, is to lower health care costs. when it comes to social security, as i said, you don't need a major structural change in order to make sure that social security is there for the future. >> follow up on this, first, governor romney, you have two minutes on social security and entitlements. >> well, jim, our seniors depend on these programs and i know any time we talk about entitlements, people become concerned that small is going to happen that's going to change their life for the worst. and the answer is, neither the president or i are proposing any changes for any current retirees
in medicare or social security. for younger people, we need to talk about what changes are going to be occurs. i just thought about one. and that is, in fact, i was wrong, when i said the presidentn't proposing any changes for current retirees. he is on medicare, on social security, he's not. for current retirees, he's cutting $716 billion for the program. he says, by not overpaying hospitals and providers. actually, just going to them, say, we're going to reduce the rates you get paid, across the board, everybody's going to get a lower rate. that's not just going after places where there's abuse. some 15% of hospitals and nursing homes say they won't take anymore medicare patients. we have 50% of doctors who say they won't take more medicare patients. this -- we have 4 million people on medicare advantage that will lose medicare advantage because of the $716 billion in cuts.
i can't understand how you can cut medicare $716 billion for current recipients of medicare. now, you point out, we're putting some back, we're going to give them a better prescription program. that's $1 for every $15 you've cut. they're smart enough to know that's not a good trade. i want to take that $716 billion you've cut and put it back into medica medicare, we can include a prescription program, if we need to improove it. but the idea of cutting $716 billion to balance the additional cost of obama care, in my opinion, a mistake. to the young people, i have proposals to make sure medicare and social security are there for them without any question. >> mr. president? >> first of all, i think it's important for governor romney to present this plan that he says will only affect folks in the future. and the essence of the plan is that he would turn medicare into a voucher program. it's called premium support, but -- it's understood to be a
voucher program. >> and you don't support that? >> i don't. and let me explain why. >> again, that's for future -- >> i understand. so, if you are -- if you are 54, 55, you might want to listen. because this -- this will affect you. the idea, which was originally presented by congressman ryan, your running mate, is that we would give a voucher to seniors and they could go out in the private marketplace and buy their own health insurance. the problem is that because the voucher wouldn't necessarily keep up with health care inflation, it was estimated that this would cost the average senior $6,000 a year. now, in fairness, what governor romney has now said he'll maintain traditional meld care alongside it. but there's still a problem, because whapgs t happens is, th insurance companies figure out who are the younger and
healthier seniors? they recruit them, leaving the older, sicker seniors in medicare and every health care economist who looks at it says, over time, the traditional medicare system will collapse. and then, what you've got is, folks like my grandmother, at the mercy of the private insurance system, precisely at the time when they are most in need of decent health care. i don't think vouchers are the right way to go. and this is not my -- only my opinion. aarp thinks that the savings that we obtained from medicare bolstered the system, lengthened the medicare trust fund by eight years. benefits were not affected at all. and ironically, if you repeal obama care, and i have become fond of this term, obama care, if you repeal it, what happens is, those seniors right away are going to be paying $600 more in prescription care. they are going to have to be paying co-pays for basic
checkups that can keep them healthier, and the primary beneficiary of that repeal are insurance companies that are estimated to gain billions of dollars back when they aren't making seniors any healthier. and i don't think that's the right approach when it comes to making sure that medicare is stronger over the long-term. >> we'll talk about specifically about health care in a moment, but what -- do you support the voucher system, governor? >> what i support is no change for current retirees and near retirees to medicare and the president supports taking $716 billion -- >> what about the vouchers? >> that's number one. number two, for people coming in that are young, to make sure we can keep medicare in place for them is to allow either to choose the current medicare program or a private plan, their choice. they get to -- and they'll have at least two plans that will be entirely at no cost to them. so, they don't have to pay
additional money, no additional $6,000, that's not going to happen. and, by the way, if the government can be as efficient as the private sector and offer people y premiums that are as low as the private sector, people can get medicare. i'd rather have a private plan. i would just as soon not have the government telling me what kind of health care i'd get. if i don't like a insurance company, i can get rid of them and find another. people make their own choice. we have to have the benefits high for those that are low income, but for higher income people, we're going to have to lower some of the benefits. we have to make sure the program is there for the long-term. that's the plan i put forward and the idea came not even from paul ryan or senator widen, who is a co-author of the bill in the senate, it came from bill clinton's chief of staff. this is an idea that's been around a long time, which is saying, hey, let's see if we can't get competition into the medicare world so that people can get a choice of different
plans at lower costs, better quality, i believe in competition. >> jim, if i can just respond very quickly, first of all, every study has shown that medicare has lower ed administrative costs than insurance, which is why seniors are generally pretty happy with it. and private insurers have to make a profit. nothing wrong with that. that's what they do. and so, you've got higher administrative costs. plus profit. on top of that. and if you are going to save any money through what governor romney's proposing, what has to happen is that the money has to come from somewhere. and when you move to a voucher system, you are putting seniors at the mercy of those insurance companies and over time, if traditional medicare has decayed or fallen apart, then they're stuck. and this is the reason why aarp has said that your plan would weaken medicare, substantially
and that's why they were supportive of the approach that we took. one last point i want to make. we do have to lower the cost of health care. not just in medicare -- >> talk about that in a minute. >> but overall. >> okay. >> and so -- >> that's a big topic. can we stay on medicare? >> we're going to -- i want to get to it -- >> i'm sorry. >> before we leave -- >> let's get back to medicare. the government sapresident said provide it at lower cost and without a profit. if that's the case, it will always be the best product that people -- >> wait a minute, governor. >> the private sector typically is able to provide a better product -- >> can we -- can the two of you agree that the voters have a clear voice? >> absolutely. >> absolutely. >> all right, to finish quickly, briefly, on the economy, what is your view about the level of federal regulation of the economy right now? is there too much and in your case, mr. president, is there, should there be more.
beginning with you, this is not a new segment to start. we'll go for a few minute and we're going to go to health care, okay? >> regulation is essential. you can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation. as a business person, i had to have -- i need to know the regulations. i needed them there. you couldn't have people opening up banks if their garage and making loans -- you have to have regulations, so that you can have an economy work. every free economy has a good regulation. the same time, regulation can become excessive. >> is it excessive now? >> in some places -- >> like where? >> what's happened with some of the legislation that's been passed during the president's term, you've seen regulation become excessive and it's hurt the economy. let me give you an example. dodd-frank was passed and it including provisions that i think have unintended
consequences. it designates a number of banks that are too big to fail. this is the biggest kiss that's been given to new york banks i've ever seen. this is an enormous boone for them. there have been 122 community and small banks have closed since dodd-frank. there's one example. here is another. in dodd-frank -- >> you want to repeal dodd-frank? >> you're not going to get rid of all regulation. you have to have some parts. and there are some parts that make all the sense in the world. you need trance part si, you need -- >> here is a specific -- >> let's talk the other big one -- >> let's not. let's let him respond to this, on dodd-frank and what the governor just said. >> i think this is a great example. the reason we have been in such an enormous economic crisis was prompted by reckless behavior across the board. now, it wasn't just on wall
street. you had loan officers that were giving loans and mortgages that really shouldn't have been given because thele toings didn't qualify, you had people borrowing money to buy a house they couldn't afford. you had credit agencies that were stamping these at a-1 great investments when they weren't. but you also had banks making money, hand over fist, churning out products that the bankers themselves didn't even understand in order to make big profits but knowing that it made the entire system vulnerable. so, what did we do? we stepped in and had the toughest reforms on wall street since the 1930s. we said, you've got banks, you got to raise your capital environments. you can't engage in some of this risky behaviors. we're going to make sure you've got to have a living will, so, we can know how you're going to wind things down if you make a bad bet so we don't have other taxpayer bailouts. we also make sure that all the
help that we provided those banks was paid back with interest. now, governor romney has said he wants to repeal dodd-frank, and, you know, i appreciate and it appears we've got some agreement that a marketplace to work has to have some regulation. but in the past, governor romney says he just wants to repeal dodd-frank, roll it back. so, the question is, does anybody out there think that the big problem we had is that there was too much oversight and regulation of wall street? because if you do, then governor romney is your candidate. but that's not -- >> sorry, jim, that's just not the facts. look, we have to have regulation of wall street. that's why i'd have regulation. but i wouldn't designate five banks as too big to fail and give them a blank check. that's one of the unintended
consequences of dodd-frank. we need to get rid of that provision. let me mention another regulation. you said we were giving mortgages to people who weren't qualified. that's exactly right. that's one of the reasons for the great financial calamity we had. and, so, dodd-frank correctly says we need to have qualified mortgages and if you give a mortgage that's not qualified, there are big penalties. but they didn't define what a qualified mortgage was. >> all right. >> it's been two years. we don't know what a qualified mortgage is yet. so, banks are reluctant to make loans, mortgages. try to get a mortgage. it's hurt the housing market because dodd-frank didn't anticipate putting in place the kinds of regulations you have to have. it's not that dodd-frank always was wrong with too much regulation, sometimes they didn't come out with the clear regulations. i will make sure we don't hurt the functioning of our marketplace and our businesses because i want to bring back housing and get good jobs. >> all right, i think we have another clear difference between
the two of you. now, let's move to health care, where, i know, there is a clear difference and that has to do with the affordful care act, obama care, and it's a two-minute, new segment and it's two minutes each and you go first, governor romney, you want it repealed? you want affordable care ability repealed? why? >> i sure do. well, in part, it comes, again, from my experience. i was in new hampshire, a woman came to me, she said, i can't afford insurance for myself or my son. i met a couple in wisconsin, they said, we're thinking of dropping our insurance, we can't afford it. and the number of small businesses i've gone to who say they are p droing insurance because they can't afford it -- the cost of health care is just prohibitive and we've got to deal with cost and unfortunately, when you look at obama care, the congestiression budget office has said it will cost $2,500 a year more than traditional insurance. so, it's adding to cost.
and as a matter of fact, when the president ran for office, he said that by this year, he would have brought down the cost of insurance for each family by $2,500 a family. instead, it's gone up by that amount. so, it's expensive. expensive things hurt families, so that's one reason i don't want it. second reason, it cuts $716 billion from medicare to pay for it. i want to put that money back in medicare for our seniors. number three. it puts in place an unelected board that's going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. i don't like that idea. fourth, there was a survey done of small businesses across the country. said, what's been the affect of obama care on your hiring plans? and three-quarters of them says it makes us less likely to people. i just don't know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the kitchen table and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for obama care instead of fighting for jobs for the american people.
it has killed jobs. and the best course for health care is to do what we did in my state. craft a plan at the state level that fits the needs of the state and then let's focus on getting the costs down for people, rather than raising it with the $2,500 additional premium. >> mr. president, the argument against repeal. >> well, four years ago, when i was running for office, i was traveling around and having those same conversations that governor romney talks about. and it wasn't just that small businesses were seeing costs skyrocket, they couldn't get affordable coverage even if they wanted to provide it to their employees. it wasn't that this was just the biggest driver of our federal deficit, but it was families who were worried about going bankrupt if they got sick. millions of families, all across the country. they had a pre-existing condition. they might not be able to get coverage at all. if they did have coverage, insurance companies might impose
an arbitrary limit. as a consequence, they're paying their premiums, somebody gets really sick, lo and behold, they don't have enough money to pay the bills because the insurance companies say they've hit the limit. so, we did work on this, alongside working on jobs, because this is part of making sure that middle class families are secure in this country. and let me tell you exactly what obama care did. number one, if you've got health insurance, it doesn't mean a government takeover. you keep your own insurance, you keep your own doctor, but it does say insurance companies can't jerk you around. they can't impose arbitrary lifetime limits. they have to let you keep your kid on your insurance plan until you are 26 years old. and it also says that you're going to have to get rebates if insurance companies are spending more on administrative costs and profits than they are on actual
care. number two, if you don't have health insurance, we're setting up a group plan that allows you to benefit from group rates that are typically 18% lower than if you're out there trying to get insurance on the individual market. now, the last point i'd make, before -- i think -- i had five seconds before you interrupted me. was -- the irony is that we've seen this model work really well. in massachusetts. because governor romney did a good thing, working with democrats in the state to set up what is essentially the identical model and as a consequence, people are covered there. it hasn't destroyed jobs. and as a consequence, we now have a system in which we have the opportunity to start bringing down costs as opposed
to just leaving millions of people out in the could. >> your five seconds went away a long time ago. governor, tell the president directly why you think what he just said is wrong. >> well, i did with my first statement. >> you did. please elaborate. >> exactly right. first of all, i like the way we did it in massachusetts. i like the fact that in my state, we had republicans and democrats come together and work together. what you did, instead, was to push through a plan without a single republican vote. as a matter of fact, when massachusetts did something quite extraordinary, elected a republican senator to stop it, you pushed it through anyway. instead of bringing america together and having a discussion, you pushed through something that you and nancy pelosi and harry reid thought was the best answer and drove it through. what we did, in a legislator 87% democrat, we worked together. 200 legislators in my sledge lay or the, only two voted against the plan by the time we were
finished. what were some differences? we didn't raise taxes. you raised them a trillion dollars. we didn't cut medicare. we don't have it, but we didn't cut medicare by $716 billion. we didn't put in place a board that will tell people thwhat treatments they can have. we didn't put people in a position where they're going to lose the insurance they had and they wanted. right now, the cbo says up to 20 million people will lose their insurance as obama care goes into effect next year. and like wise, a study said 30% of them are anticipating dropping people from coverage. so, for those reasons, for the tax, for medicare, for this board, and for people losing their insurance, this is why the american people don't want obama care. it's why republicans said, "do not do this" and the republicans had a plan, they put a plan out. they put out a plan, a bipartisan plan, it was swept
aside. i think something this big, this important, has to be done on a bipartisan basis. and we have to have a president who can reach across the aisle and fashion important legislation with the input from both parties. >> governor romney said this has to be done bipartisan basis -- this was a bipartisan basis. governor romney said what we did in massachusetts should be a model for the nation. and i agree that the democratic legislators in massachusetts might have given some advice to republicans in congress about how to cooperate, but the fact of the matter is, we used the same advisers and they say it's the same plan. it -- when governor romney talks about this board, for example, unelected board that we've created, what this is, is a group of health care experts, doctors, et cetera, to figure out, how can we reduce the cost of care in the system overall.
because there are two ways of dealing with our health care crisis. one is to simply leave a whole bunch of people uninsured and let them fend for themselves. to let businesses figure out how long they can continue to pay premiums until finally they just give up and workers are no longer getting insured, and that's been the trend line. or, we can figure out, how do we make the cost of care more effective? and there are ways of doing it. so, at cleveland clinic, one of the best health care systems in the world, they actually provide great care cheaper than average. and the reason they do is because they do some smart things. they say, if a patient's coming in, let's get all the doctors together at once, do one test instead of having the patient run around with ten tests. let's make sure that we're providing preventive care so we're catching the onset of something like diabetes. let's pay providers on the basis
of performance as opposed to on the basis of how many procedures they've engaged in. now, so what this board does is basically identifies the best practices and says, let's use the purchasing power of medicare and medicaid to help to institutionalize all these good things that we do. and the fact of the matter is that when obama care is fully implemented, we're going to be in a position to show that costs are going down and over the last two years, health care premiums have gone up, it's true, but they've gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years. so, we're already beginning to see progress. in the meantime, folks out there with insurance, you're getting a rebate already. let me make one last point. governor romney says, we should replace it, i'm just going to repeal it, but we can replace it with something, but the problem is, he hasn't described what
exactly we'd replace it with, other than saying we're going to leave it to the states. but the fact of the matter is that some of the prescriptions that he's offered, like letting you buy insurance by state lines, there's no indication that's going to help somebody who has a pre-existing condition be able to finally buy insurance. it is estimated that by repealing obama care, you are looking at 50 million people losing health insurance at a time when it's vitally important. >> let's let the governor explain what you would do if obama care is repealed. how would you replace it? >> actually, it's a lengthy description, but number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan. number two, young people are able to stay on their family plan, that's already offered in the private marketplace. you don't have to have the government mandate that for that to occur. let's come back to something the president and i agree on, which is the key task we have in health care, is to get the cost down so it is more affordable for families and he has as a
model for doing that, a board of people at the government, unelected board, appointed board, who are going to decide what kind of treatments you ought to has. >> no it doesn't. >> in my opinion, the government is not effective in bringing down the cost of almost anything. as a matter of fact, free people and free enterprises, trying to find things to do things better are able to bring down cost. you exactly of the cleveland clinic is my case in point. along with several others i could describe. this is the private market. these are small -- these are enterprises competing with each other, learning how to do better and better jobs. i used to consult to hospitals and to health care providers. i was astonished at the creativity and innovation that exists in the american people. in order to bring the cost of health care down, we don't need to have a board of 15 people telling us what kinds of treatments we should have. we instead need to put insurance
plans, providers, hospitals, doctors, on target such that they have an incentive, as you say, performance pay for keeping costs down and that's happening. intermountain health care does it superbly well. mayo clinic, cleveland clinic, others. but the right answer is not to have the federal government take other health care and start mandating to the providers across america, telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they can have. that's the wrong way to go. private market and individual responsibility always work best. >> let me just point out, first of all, this board that we're talking about, can't make dixes about what treatments are given. that's prohibited in the law. let's go back to what governor romney indicated, that under his plan, he would be able to cover people with pre-existing conditions. well, actually, governor, that isn't what your plan does, what
your plan does is to duplicate what is already the law. if you are out of health insurance for three months, then you can end up getting continuous coverage and insurance company can't deny you if it's been under 90 days. but that's already the law. and that doesn't help the millions of people out there with pre-existing conditions. there's a reason why governor romney set up the plan that he did in massachusetts. it wasn't a government takeover of health care. it was the largest expansion of private insurance. but what it does say is that insurers, you have to take everybody. now, that also means that you've got more customers. but when governor romney says that he'll replace it with something, but can't detail how it will be, in fact, replaced and the reason he set up the system he did in massachusetts was because there isn't a better
way of dealing with pre-existing condition problem, it just reminds me, he says that he's going to close deductions and loopholes for his tax plan, that's how it's going to be paid for, but we don't know the details. he says he's going to replace dodd-frank, wall street reform, but we don't know exactly which ones. he won't tell us. he now says he's going to replace obama care and insure all the good things in it are going to be in there and you don't have to worry. and at some point, i think the american people have to ask themselves, is the reason that governor romney is keeping all these plans to replace secret because they're too good? is it because somehow middle class families are going to benefit too much from them? no, the reason is because when we reform wall street, when we tackle the problem of pre-existing conditions, then, you know, these are tough problems and we've got to make
choices and the choices we've made have been ones that ultimately are benefits middle class families all across the country. >> we're going to move -- >> i have to respond to that. >> no, but -- >> which is, my experience, as a governor, is if i come in and lay down a piece of legislation and say, it's my way or the highway, i don't get a lot done. what i do is the same way that ronald reagan worked together with tip o'neil some years ago, when ronald reagan ran for office, he laid out the principles that he was going to foster. he said he was going to ylower tax rates, borden the base, you said the same thing, simplify the tax code. those are my principles, i want to bring down the tax burden. i'm going to work with congress to say, okay, what are the various ways we can bring down deductions, for instance? one way would be to have a single number. make up a number, $25,000, $50,000, anybody can have deductions up to that amount and then that number disappears for high income people. that's one way one could do it. one could follow simpson has a
model and take deduction by deduction. there are alternatives to accomplish the objective i have, which is to bring down rates, broaden the base. simplify the code and create incentives for growth. and with regards to health care, you had remarkable details with my pre-existing condition plan. you obviously studied up on my plan. i do have a plan that deems with people with pre-existing conditions and what we did in massachusetts is a model for the nation state by state. and i said that at that time. the federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the tenth amendment, which gives states the rights for these things, is not the course for america to have a stronger economy. >> that is a terrific segue to our next segment. and is the role of government. and let's see. role of government and it is -- you are first on this, mr. president. and the question is this.
do you believe, both of you, but you had tve the first two minut on this, mr. president. do you believe there's a fundamental difference between the two of you has to how you view the mission of the federal government? >> well, i definitely think there are differences. the first role of the federal government is to keep the american people safe. that's its most basic function and as commander in chief, that is something that i've worked on and thought about every single day that i've been in the oval office. but i also believe that government has the capacity, the federal government, has the capaci capacity, to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity and create frameworks where the american people can succeed. the genius of america is the free enterprise system and freedom and the fact that people can go out there and start a business, work on an idea.
make their own decisions. but as abraham lincoln understood, there are also some things we do better together. so, in the middle of the civil war, abraham lincoln said, let's help to finance the transcontinental railroad. let's start the national academy of sciences. let's start land grant colleges, because we want to give people gateways of opportunity for all americans, because if all americans are getting opportunity, we're all going to be better off. that doesn't restrict people's freedom. that enhances it. and so, what i've tried to do, as president, is to apply those same principles. and when it comes to education, you know, what i've said is, we've got to reform schools that are not working, we use something called race to the top, wasn't a top-down approach, governor, what we've said is, to states, we'll give you more money if you initiate reforms. and as a consequence, you had 46 states around the country who
have made a real difference. but what i've also said is, let's hire another 100,000 math and science teachers to make sure we maintain our technological lead and people that are skilled and able to suck se succeed and hard-pressed states right now can't all do that. we've seen layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers over the last several years and governor romney doesn't think we need more teachers. i do, because i think that that is the kind of investment where the federal government can help. it can't do it all. but it can make a difference and as a consequence, we'll have a better-train eed work force. >> two minutes, governor, on the role of government. your view. >> well, first, i love great schools. massachusetts, our schools are ranked number one of all 50 states and the key to great schools, great teachers. so, i reject the idea that i don't believe in great teachers or more teachers. every state should make that decision on their own. the role of government.
look behind us. the constitution and the declaration of independence. the role of government is to promote and protect the principles of those documents. first, life and liberty. we have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people and that means the military, second to none. i do not believe in cutting our military. i believe in maintaining the strength of america's military. second, in that line that says we are endowed by our creator with our rights. i believe we must maintain our commitment to religious tolerance and freedom in this country. that statement also says that we are endowed by our creator with the right to pursue happiness as we choose. i interpret that as making sure that people that are less fortunate are cared by one another. we are a nation that believes we're all children of the same god and we care for those who have difficulties, those are elderly, that have problems and
challenges, we care for them. we look for discovery and innovation, all these things desired out of the american heart to provide the pursuit of happiness for our citizens. but we also believe in maintaining for individuals the right to pursue their dreams. and not to have the government substitute itself for the rights of free individuals. and what we're seeing right now is, in my view, a trickle-down government approach. which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams and it's not working. and the proof of that is 23 million people out of work. the proof of that is, 1 out of 6 people in poverty. the proof of that is, we've got from 32 million on food stamps to 47 million. the proof of that is that 50% of college graduates this year can't find work. we know the path that we're taking is not working. it's time for a new path. >> let's go through some specifics in terms of how each of you views the role of government. education. does the federal government have a responsibility to improve the
quality of public education in america? >> well, primary responsibility for education is, of course, at the state and local level. but the federal government also can play a very important role and i agree with secretary arne duncan, the ideas he's put forward on race to the top, not all of them but some of them and i congratulate him for pursuing that. the federal government can get schools to do a better job. my own view, by the way, i've added to that. i happen to believe, i want the kids that are getting federal dollars from idea or title one, these are disabled kids or poor kids or lower income kids, rather, i want them to go to the school of their choice, so, all federal founds, instead of goin to the state of the school district, i'd follow the child and let the parent and the child decide where to send their student. >> how do you see the federal government's responsibility to, as i said, to improve the quality of public education in this country? >> as i've indicated, i think it
has a significant role to play. through our race to the top program, we worked with republican and democratic governors to initiate major reforms and they are having an impact right now. >> do you think you have a difference with your views and those of governor romney about education? >> this is where budgets matter, because budgets reflect choices. so, when governor romney indicates that he wants to cut taxes and potentially benefit folks like me and him and to pay for it, we're having to initiate significant cuts in federal support for education, that makes a difference. his running mate, congressman ryan, put forward a buget that reflected many of the principles that governor romney's talked about. and it wasn't very detailed, this seems to be a trend, but what it doid do is, if you extrapolated how much money we're talking about, you'd like at cutting the education budget
by up to 20%. when it comes to community colleges, we are seeing great work done out there all over the country, because we have the opportunity to train people for jobs that exist right now and one of the things i suspect governor romney and i probably agree on is, getting businesses to work with community colleges to they are setting up their training programs -- >> do you agree? >> let me finish the point. where they're partners so they're designing training programs and people who are going through them know that there's a job waiting for them if they complete it. that requires some federal support. let me just say one final example. when it comes to making college affordable, whether it's two-year or four-year, one of the things i did as president, we were sending $60 million to banks and lenders as middlemen for the student loan program, though the loans were
guaranteed. there were no risks, but they were taking billions out of the system. we said, why not cut out the middleman? and as a consequence, we've been able to provide millions more students assistance, lower, or keep low interest rates and student loans and this is an example of where our priorities make a difference. governor romney, i genuinely believe, cares about education. but when he tells a student that, you know, you should borrow money from your parents to go to college, you know, that indicates the degree to which, you know, there may not be as much of a focus on the fact that folks like myself, folks like michelle, kids probably who attend university of denver, just don't have that option and for us to be able to make sure that they've got that opportunity and they can walk through that door, that is vitally important, not just to those kids, it's how we're going to grow this economy.
>> we're running out of time gentlemen. you have a chance to respond to that. >> mr. president, you are entitled to your own house and a plane but not facts. i'm not going to cut education funding. i don't have any plan to cut education funding and grants that go to people going to college. i'm planning continue to grow. i'm not making changes there. but you make a very good point, which is the place you put your money makes a pretty clear indication where your heart is. you put $90 million into green jobs. and i -- look, i'm all in favor of green energy. 90 milli$90 billion. that would have hired 2 million teachers. $90 million. and these businesses, many of them have gone out of business, i think about half of them, the ones that have been invested in have gone out of business. a number of them happen to be own by people who are contributors to their campaigyo campaign. we're talking about the role of government. it's not to become the economic
player picking winners and losers, telling people what kind of health treatment they can receive, taking over the health care system that has existed in this country for a long, long time and has produced the best health records in the world. the right answer for government is to say, how do we make the private sector become more efficient and more effective. how do we get schools to be more competitive? i propose we grade our schools to know which schools are succeeding and failing so they can take their child to a school that's more successful. i don't want to cut our commitment to education. i want to make it more effective and efficient and, by the way, i've had that experience. i don't just talk about it. i've been there. massachusetts schools aren aringed number one in the nation. this is not because i didn't have commitment to education. it's because i care about education for all of our kids. >> all right, gentlemen. one second. excuse me, sir. we have barely three minutes left. i'm not going to grade the two of you and say your answers have been too long or i've done a
poor job -- >> you've done a great job. >> well, the fact is, the role of government and governing, we've lost a pod, in other words, we only have three minutes left in the debate before we go to your closing statements and so, i want to ask, finally, and remember, we have three minutes total time here and the question is this. many of the legislative functions of the federal government right now are in a state of paralysis as a result of partisan grid lock. if elected or re-elected, what would you do about that? governor? >>jim, i was elected in a state where my legislature was 87% democrat. and that meant i figured out from day one i had to get along. and i had to work across the aisle to get anything done. we drove our schools to be number one in the nation. we cut taxes 19 times.
>> what would you do as president? >> i will sit on day one, actually, the day after i'm elected, i'll sit down with democrat and republican leaders and continue, as we did in my state, we met every monday for a couple of hours, talked about issues and the challenges. we have to work on a collaborative basis. not because we're going to compromise our principles but because there's common ground. and the challenges america faces right now -- look, the reason i'm in this race is, there are people that are really hurting today in this country and we face this deficit that could crush the future generations. what's happening in the middle east, there are developments around the world that are of real concern and republicans and democrats both love america but we need to have leadership -- leadership in washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done and could not careless if it's a republican or a democrat. i've done it before, i'll do it again. >> mr. president? >> first of all, i think governor romney is going to have a busy first day, because he's
going to repeal obama care, which will not be very popular among democrats as you are sitting down with them. look, my philosophy has been, i will take ideas from anybody, democrat or republican, as long as they are advancing the cause of making middle class families stronger and giving ladders of opportunity to the middle class. that's how we cut taxes for middle class families and small businesses. that's how we cut a trillion dollars of spending that wasn't advancing that cause. that's how we signed three trade deals into law that are helping us to double our exports and sell more american products around the world. that's how we repealed don't ask, don't tell. that's how we ended the war in iraq, and that's how we're going to wind down the war in afghanistan. that's how we went after al qaeda and bin laden. so, we've seen progress even under republican control of the house of representatives. but ultimately, part of being principled, part of being a leader is, a, being able to describe exactly what it is you
intend to do, not just saying i'll sit down, but you have to have a plan. number two, what's important is, occasionally, you've got to say no. to folks both in your own party and in the other party. and, you know, yes, have we had some fights between me and the republicans when they fought back against us, absolutely. because that was a fight that needed to be had. when we were fighting about whether or not we were going to make sure that americans had more security with their health insurance and they said no, yes, that was a fight that we needed to have. and so part of leadership and governing is both saying what it is that you are for but also being willing to say no to some things and i've got to tell you, governor romney, when it comes to his own party during the course of this campaign, has not displayed that willingness to say no to some of the more extreme parts of his party. >> that brings us to closing statement. there was a coin toss, governor romney, you won the toss and you
elected to go last, so, you have a closing two minutes, mr. president. >> well, jim, i want to thank you and i want to thank governor romney, because i think was a terrific debate and i very much appreciate it. i want to thank the university of denver. you know, four years ago, we were going through a major crisis and yet my faith and confidence in the american future is undiminished. and the reason is because of its people. because the woman i met in north carolina who decided at 55 to go back to school, because she wanted to inspire her daughter and now has a job from that new training that he's gotten, because a company in minnesota who was willing to give up salaries and perks for their executives to make sure that they didn't lay off workers during a recession. the auto workers that you meet in toledo or detroit, take such pride in building the best cars in the world, not just because of a paycheck, but because it
gives them that sense of pride that they're helping to build america. and so, the question now is, how do we build on those strengths, and everything that i've tried to do and everything that i'm not proposing for the next four years in terms of improving education or developing american energy or making sure that we're closing loopholes for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and focusing on small businesses that are creating jobs here in the united states or closing our deficit in a responsible, balanced way that allows us to invests in our future, they're all designed to make sure that the american people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is channeled and they have an opportunity to succeed. and everybody's getting a fair shot and everybody's getting a fair share. everybody's playing by the same rules. you know, four years ago, i said that i'm not a perfect man and i wouldn't be a perfect president and that's probably a promise
that governor romney thinks i've kept. but i also promised that i would fight every single day on behalf of the american people and the middle class and all those who are striving to get to the middle class. i've kept that promise and if you'll vote for me, i'll promise i'll fight just as hard in a second term. >> governor romney? >> thank you, jim, and mr. president, thank you for tuning in this evening. this is an important election and i'm concerned about america. i'm concerned about the direction america has been taking over the last four years. i know this is bigger than an election about the two of us, as individuals, it's bigger than our parties. it's an election about the course of america. what kind of america do you want to have for yourself and for your children? and there really are two very different paths that we began speaking about this evening and over the course of this month, we're going to have two more presidential debates and a vice presidential debate and we'll talk about those paths. it's not just looking to our words that you have to take in
evidence of where they go. you can look at the record there's no question in my mind that if the president were to be re- re-re-ele re-re-elected, you'll continue to see a middle class squeeze. you'll see chronic unemployment. we've had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8%. if i'm president, i will create, help create 12 million new jobs in this country. with rising incomes. the president's re-elected, obama care will be fully installed. that's going to mean a whole different way of life for people who counted on the insurance they had in the past. many will lose it. you're going to see health premiums go up by $2,500 per family. if i'm elected, we won't have the obama care. we will put in place the kind of principles that i put in place in my own state and allow each state to craft their own programs to get people insured and focus on getting the cost of health care down. if the president were to be re-elected, you're going to see a $716 billion cut to medicare. you'll have 4 million people who
are lose medicare advantage. hospitals and providers that will no longer accept medicare patients. i'll restore that $716 billion to medicare. and, finally, military. the president's re-elected, you'll see dramatic cuts to our military. the secondary of defense has said these would be devastating. i will not cut our commitment to our military. i will keep america strong and get america's middle class working again. thank you, jim. >> thank you, governor. thank you, mr. president. the next debate will be the vice presidential event on thursday, october 11th at center college in danville, kentucky. for now, from the university of denver, i'm jim lehrer. thank you, and good night. and there you have it. the hand shake after the first debate. the two candidates out of the starting gate, first shaking hands with jim lehrer and also going to the wives which come up on stage. i have to believe there's a lot
of relief in this moment, george. >> no question about it. the families coming up now, as well. big smiles from both candidates. >> and we heard that initially there was going to be a limit to how many people could be on stage, but the obamas said no, no, we don't want a limb. as many of the romney family who want to come up can come up here, so, let's take a look. as family members who we know have been so nervous during this debate, they told us they're going to be nervous during the debates. they're also breathing a big sigh of relief. >> always hardest on the spouses. >> that's right. in fact, i think mrs. obama said she tries to keep just one face during it all and mrs. romney said that it's really nerve-wracking for the families. there they are. and still together. i don't know that i've seen this often. talking, laughing. we'd love to have lip readers, wouldn't we? maybe we'll get some to tell us
what they're saying to each other right now before they head off the stage tonight. after this first debate. so, picking up notes in case there's anything left behind. you don't want a stray comment left behind on the podium there. and let me turn to you right now, george, nobody knows politics better than you. here it is, bottom line, was there a clear winner tonight? >> i think governor romney definitely more crisp in his presentation. he was leaning into the debate when president obama was a little bit more laid back. i think he was able to be aggressive without being offensive. so, even though there were -- i didn't see any knockout punches. no breakthrough moments or major mistakes. i think governor romney will get the boost that challengers usually get. the big question, did he do anything to dramatically change the trajectory of the race? >> well, just some of what you are telling us from home and you are sending us torrents of e-mails tonight, somebody has said, you know, this is a debate
you needed a calculator to follow in the first 25 minutes. a lot of numbers thrown out there and just for the record, the biggest number of tweets so far on big bird, but we'll get back to that in a moment. i want to turn to matthew dowd, a key strategist for both sides of the aisle, at different points in his life. is george right? >> well, i think this -- we all try to make comparisons to these races to previous presidential races and this race has been so eerily familiar to 2004 and tonight was another example of that. it is as if -- very much like bush-kerry. bush came in with a lead, not huge, he came in to play for a draw and john kerry came in to win. the exact same happened tonight. mitt romney came in to win this debate with passion and it looked as if the president came in, as long as i play for a draw, i keep a lead and go forward. if that's the case, i think a very close race just got a lot closer. >> really? played for a draw and succeeded?
>> no, the president played for a draw, but the guy that comes in and plays for a win usually gets the victory. >> does a tie go to the challenger? >> i think it will go to the president, because he is the income dent. i believe mitt romney did himself a lot of good. he came to play. he came to change the script in this campaign and he was able to do that tonight by talking about the things that he's done in a bipartisan fashion, but i think the president had to lay out what he will do in the future. he was able to do that. but tonight, mitt romney was a little bit more aggressive than the president. >> and austin, president obama trying to go against mitt romney's tax plan, but you saw time and time again governor romney going back to the record of the last four years. >> yeah, you know, i -- you often hear people say they want the debates to be very specific and policy oriented, and how they don't want to hear one liners and tonight, you got the
debate that people say they wanted. i wonder if it is the debate that they wanted. we got way into the details on a lot of the policies. i think the president was a little taken aback that romney appeared to be shifting, in addition to going back to the record, kind of shifting what he has been saying for some months, so, on his tax plan, where he had been saying for awhile, emphasizing the tax cut portion, tonight, he was saying, no, actually, it's not going to be a tax cut at all. and i think that kind of threw it off a little bit, because we got into this, no, that's not true, yes it is true. no, it's not true. and i don't know that the viewers can figure out. >> let me turn to nicolle walla wallace, welcome, good to have you on your tape. and she's been a key adviser both in the bush campaign and in the mccain campaign. so, what do you think? >> well, look. republicans have been very depressed until about 9:48
tonight. and in my blackberry, it almost exploded. republicans are thrilled with the performance that mitt romney delivered tonight. and, you know, i think that we now have a candidate that the party not only thinks can win, but thinks that when they say they will win, they actually believe it. there have been a lot of republicans out there loyally trumping the talking points but they haven't believed this is the guy that had it in him. they saw someone that answered the questions with specifity who refused to yield and inch to obama's efforts to label him as someone who wants to cut taxes on the rich and able to wrap answers in this debate about the role of government in american life. i think republicans are going to be overjoyed. i think the decisions obama made to attack mitt romney for supporting something that looked like obama care are huge loser when you consider who is still up in the air. republican primary voters wouldn't have liked to have heard that, but they've already come home to romney.
and i don't think that obama did himself any good with the kinds of voters who are still making up their mind. >> george will, nicole says republicans are going to be happy with that. are you one of them? and then, the second question, did you hear anything tonight that would change someone's mind? >> i'm not sure about the latter, but george, just four days ago on a sunday morning, governor christie of new jersey said this debate would change dramatically the narrative of the election, may have done that. mr. romney came in with three things to accomplish. first, the polls showing him behind were in danger of becoming self-fulfilling prophesie prophesies. i think he probably stopped that in its tracks tonight. second, he wanted to use this forum to correct what he thinks are serious misrepresentations of him, regarding medicare and taxes and the scope of the tax cuts and the revenue neutrality and all of that. third, he wanted to make the
philosophic statement. he knows this is a country in which self-identify conservatives outnumber independents to liberals two to one. he used this as an opportunity to say, do you believe government is the aloe kay or the of resources and opportunity or do you believe in the market? and i think most republicans are content to go to the country and say, let's vote on that. >> all right, george, great to have you joining us from washington tonight. let us go inside that room, because we've been saying, we didn't see a big moment, a moment that's going to play and play and play over the next few days but it's different in the room, as we know. but let's start with our jake tapper, who is right there. jake? weigh in. >> well, i've covered president obama for six or seven years now and i've seen him inspire crowds of tens of thousands and then i also recall the summer of 2007 when he was listless and flat
and uninspired and his campaign manager had to knock some sense in him and get him back in the game. unfortunately for the obama campaign that's the obama i saw on the stage tonight. it was not a strong performance by him. and even democrats and close obama aides acknowledge that romney was ahead on stylistic points, on zingers, they feel good about when obama was talking to the camera, to the voters and they feel good that romney, in their view, was doubling down on policies, but ultimately, performance wise, this was a strong night for mitt romney. >> david muir, we saw the big smile on mitt romney immediately after the debate. some results already coming in, romney's odds going up. >> yeah, that smile spills relief on romney's face tonight. within the campaign, too, george. in fact, i got a text before the debate was over from a key adviser who said "mission
accomplished." the governor looked to put the president on the defensive. they think that was accomplished here tonight. also, you heard governor romney right out of the gate come out here and talk about a woman that he met on the trail in a last couple of days, talking about economic hardship. that was another hurdle that romney tried to cross, connecting with average problems facing americans, not a surprise that he talked about women on the trail and in key states, key battleground states, what they believe that as you mentioned, george, no knockout punch here tonight, but it was a strong performance from the governor when he needed it most. >> all right, david and jake, thank you. and we're going to take a quick break, but you've been asking us to fact check some of the numbers we heard tonight, some of the conflicting opinions, conflicting debate points. we're going to do just that, take the big three when we come back.
>> and welcome back, everyone. what a night it has been. first night, more to come, as we know. but you have been asking us to fact check some of these conflicting arguments they made in this debate. let's go to jonathan karl, who is standing by. he's been standing sentry over these facts tonight. take the big two that came into you and check them for us. >> well, diane, the big one, this came from president obama repeatedly about governor romney's tax plan, he said it several times, this is it. >> because governor romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut, on top of the extension of the bush tax cuts, that's another trillion dollars and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn't asked for. >> okay, so, the big thing there is, governor romney has a $5 trillion tax cut plan. i rate that mostly fiction. as you heard from romney during
the debate, he is proposing no net tax increase whatsoever. diane, what he has proposed is a 20% tax cut in rates across the board, but he's said that nobody gets extra money, because he's going to pay for that by closing loopholes, of course, he hasn't told us which loopholes he's going to close. next up, the issue of health care. the president's health care plan covers guaranteed coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions. this is what mitt romney said about his health care plan. >> number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan. >> okay, i have to rate that mostly fiction. here's what we know about governor romney's health care plan. it would guarantee coverage, even if you had pre-existing conditions, for anybody who currently has health care or had it within three months. that's basically current law, diane. but under romney's plan, there is nothing to help out those that now don't have health care and haven't had it for three months. if they have pre-existing conditions, they're out of luck.
>> so, jon, before you let you go, i have to ask you one question, is donald trump a small business? >> well, i've got to tell you, diane, i was a reporter in new york for many years, i've covered donald trump. i know him. i've interviewed him. he is not a small businessman. >> but technically, technically, i think the president would argue that he is, with a number of employees that he talks about, george. >> i want to pick up with matt dou dowd, that point about pre-existing conditions. as nicole was talking about, it seemed like in that extended discussion, about an hour into the debate, that's where you see mitt romney scoring but reaching out to voters beyond his republican base. >> well, yeah, because we know all the polls basically say the majority of voters don't want -- are not satisfied with president obama's health care plan. if you are going to repeal it or not is a different question. but a majority of voters don't want that. i this i there were so many opportunities, including that one, where the president, for some reason, backed off on
counterpunching. and if i were his folks, his ringmen and women, i'd put him back in, say, you need to practice this, because it goes this way in the next debate, you're fixing to lose. >> and so many reports that the president doesn't like this, but one perfect example, and you were noting it, mitt romney, i think, five times, talked about $716 billion in medicare cuts -- >> and the president didn't fight back on that. that was -- i think it was because he was addressing, you know, other things -- >> all five times? >> he didn't respond on that. yes, i mean, remember what the context was. the thing, i think it will, the strongest moment for the president is when he said, look, i'm going after the tax plan you outlined and now you say that's not your plan and you say you're going to get rid of dodd-frank, going to get rid of this and replace it. what are the secret plans that you have that you're going to replace it with? i think that will actually come back to haunt romney. there's a restaurant in austin, texas, that i'm sure matt knows,
whose slogan is, we gyp the other guy and pass the savings onto you. i think in the tax plan, we're getting into a little bit about that where romney says, well, it's not going to be a tax cut, i'm going to cut taxes for the middle, not going to raise anybody elses, and that kind of chasing the tail is going to come back. >> nicole, i'm going to ask you to do something counter intuitive, republican strategist, tell me what the president's biggest score was against mitt romney. what does he most have to worry about this. >> i think the president had one of the better lines of the whole debate, when he said, if you are 55, listen up. this is rom nooem's vulnerable plank and he has to protect against these attacks because when president bush tried to do something with social security that even if you are sending a message that it won't affect you, seniors still revolt against the idea of anything changing in our entitlement programs. >> same question to you, donna brazile, opposite. >> well, i heard a lot of
antedotes tonight about women, mainly women. they kept saying, well, when i was on the campaign trail, i met this woman, i met this woman. that was wonderful. they finally talked about women, but they didn't get into the substance of things that i think women really want to hear from the candidates about, you know, their job security, equal pay. women would have loved to have that conversation. like shadow boxing. you didn't really see a lot of damage. >> where did romney score? >> no question, he scored on government. i think republicans want to hear -- the president was not as strong on the role of government and the lives of people. i think mitt romney had a more concise answer and he was able to get back to his opening statement that i have a plan that can help solve the problems. >> and david muir, as we know, they're spinning like crazy out in colorado right now, what have you heard from the romney camp? >> i got to tell you that the romney camp thought tonight, for sure, that the 47% comments would come up here tonight, it was something they practiced for in these mock debates, diane and
george. for several weeks now. he was practicing, obviously, more recently in boston, l.a. before that, extensively, ready for that question, it didn't come up. was that part of the president's strategy or was it forgotten tonight? >> and jake tapper, are the obama aides trying to argue that the president won tonight? >> some of them are, some of the lower to mid-level staffers are. i think they feel good on the policy front and i think that they do feel as austin pointed out, that the president arguing that romney was making a lot of promises but not really getting into specifics, that that was strong and, as i mentioned earlier, when president obama spoke directly to camera, they was strong, as well. but no, i'm not really hearing any gushing phone calls or texts talking about how the president won. no, i'm not. >> george will, how does romney capitalize on what is a consensus first round performance tonight? >> i think what we saw was the
birth of an issue that, with five weeks to go in the campaign, is going to make its appearance, but a big appearance. they debated about this unnamed board of 15 people concerning health care. it actually has a name. it's in obama care, it's the independent payments advisory board. i predict we're going to hear a lot about that in the remaining weeks and that the american people are going to not like what they hear about it. the authority it will exercise unchecked by congress to effectively ration health care. there are arguments for it and against it. but it's going to be debated and it's going to, i suspect, i know political prophesy, i'm committing it, i think it's going to be a remaining part. >> we love it when you commit it, george, and thank you. on one point, both campaigns run, they didn't want their candidates to come in angry or contentious, particularly and they didn't seem rattled. they did seem gracious to each
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so, that is it for the first presidential debate. two for presidential debates, all before the end of october. we're going to have a lot more analysis on "nightline" later. i want to thank everyone here. >> thank you so much. do not forget, "nightline" later. and, of course, i'll be up early in the morning to watch you on "good morning america." great to have you with us tonight. good night.